By Marlene Martzke
Picture this – it is a cool misty afternoon. There is a sea breeze blowing in from the Puget Sound with a hint of ocean scent upon it. The day smacks of pirates, mermaids and other nautical beings. But the cool moisture upon the air also creates a longing for a hot cup of tea.
Pirates, mermaids, and… tea?
Bring along an English tea service for a picnic on the beach and you’ve got the idea behind Treasures and Teas. This cove, located at 102 5th Ave. S. in downtown Edmonds and featuring loose leaves for hot brews is a bounty for nautical-themed items, good teas and good conversation. Treasures, in the form of objects or wisdom, are numerous – it’s hard not to keep discovering more as you keep looking.
While I was there, owner Phyllis Carlton and manager Carla Gabbett were clueing a loyal customer in on the benefits of hibiscus tea. They both are enthusiastic to point out new flavors or benefits of teas they think their customers would enjoy.
“We delight in being able to share this with people and turn them onto it,” says Gabbett. “When customers discover new experiences then our mission is complete.”
This warm cozy spot hosts over 200 loose-leaf tea varieties. Among them are 24 kinds of rooibos (red bush), an herbal tea from South Africa that is known for its antioxidant qualities with no caffeine. Jars of tea line shelves along one entire wall of the shop. Carlton and Gabbett welcome customers to open the jars to inhale the delectable aromas that rise from within.
On the opposite wall lie the treasures. Pirate flags, mermaids, octopus sculptures, driftwood tables, glass floats and seashells, plus natural wood, stone and glass items that looked plucked from the seashore or brought up from the depths below. Carlton and Gabbett decided upon things nautical for reasons that include that they are official “beach bums.”
“This gives us an excuse to travel all over to hunt for and collect nautical treasures, and not just to trade shows,” says Carlton.
This suits customers well as the two women have found that many share their love of treasures. And pirates. Oh the pirates.
Treasures and Teas was the first in the area to feature the Pirate T-shirt. They also support the Pirates of Treasure Island in their charity work with the Sailing Heritage Society, which hosts sailing adventures for seriously ill children and at-risk families.
The ladies of Treasures and Teas keep the balance just right stocking teas to meet customer demand, but keeping it fresh. They select their teas by tasting, sampling, and frequent requests from customer. They select their treasures by thoughtful thorough searches to find unique or unusual items.
“It’s a sharing thing – we expect to learn from customers and appreciate input from customers,” says Carlton.
“Treasures and Teas is a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” adds Gabbett. “A 7-year old girl said it was very peaceful here. Can you imagine that? A 7-year-old choosing ‘peaceful’ to describe it.”
“But it’s also a fun place,” says Carlton.
“Yeah, those days we have the doors wide open and ‘Love Shack’ playing on the radio. We like to mix it up,” laughs Gabbett.
“Mostly, Treasures and Teas fills a lot of needs: tea, conversation, gifts, good company. It suits people – to a ‘T’,” Carlton says, sharing a laugh and a high-five with Gabbett.
© 2012 Marlene Martzke
Marlene Martzke is a blogger for The Northwest Trekker Bleker, a blog that reports on places and people of the Pacific Northwest.